This interview with SIIO vice-director Wang Xiujun was published in People’s Daily on 18 May.
Q: What is the major significance of establishing the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization?
WXJ: Because of historical reasons, our country’s Internet management and cybersecurity management was a matter of “Nine Dragons Controlling the Waters”, and many malpractices exist, such as multi-headed management, overlap of functions, a lack of uniformity between powers and responsibilities, low efficiency, etc., which have entered a state where they must be solved. Although there were coordinating mechanisms before, on the basis of the developments and changes of the circumstances, it is necessary to further raise its level and strengthen its authority, and make it have the final say in policymaking, guidance and supervision with regard to major matters, complex issues and difficult problems by strengthening tis concentrated and uniform leadership.
Our country’s cybersecurity and informatization leading mechanisms have been adjusted several times, but they have never been raised to the highest State levels before. Following the incessant rise in the position and role of cybersecurity and informatization in national security and development, it is also objectively needed to make cybersecurity and informatization into a major national strategy, to be grasped by the highest Party and State leaders personally. Many countries worldwide have also made cybersecurity and cyberspace development work into national “boss projects”.
The degree of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization is higher than ever before. This fully reflects the high level of attention that the Party Centre pays to cybersecurity and informatization work. In order to carry out the implementation of the Leading Group’s decisions well, the Centre also established a Leading Group Office, which is the same organ as the State Internet Information Office with a second plaque.
Q: Cybersecurity involves many areas, when we stress cybersecurity at present, which content does that mainly include?
WXJ: At different times, there have been different appellations and understandings of cybersecurity, their content has incessantly deepened, and their extent has incessantly broadened. At present, the cybersecurity that we pay attention to includes ideological security, data security, technological security, applications security, capital security, channel security and other such areas, this involves both objectives and targets for cybersecurity protection, and methods and channels to reflect the maintenance of cybersecurity.
Generally speaking, political security is the essence. At present, foreign hostile power use the Internet as their main channel to infiltrate and destroy us, under the name of “cyber freedom”, they incessantly attack and slander us, they spread rumours to create trouble, and scheme to destroy our country’s social stability and national security; some people play up hot topics or sensitive issues for their political or commercial interest, and even engage in unlawful and criminal activities; new Internet technologies are made into new tools for communication by some people, who disseminate unlawful and harmful information on a large scale. On the Internet, whether or not we can gain victory in the struggle of ideological infiltration and anti-infiltration, decides to a very large extent the future of our Party and country.
Another major area of cybersecurity is the security of networks and information systems. The “Stuxnet” virus of a few years ago caused great destruction to Iran’s nuclear facilities, which revealed that crucial infrastructure had become a target for attack through cyber armament, which might lead to disastrous outcomes. The Snowden incident and others indicate that a small number of countries use their Internet infrastructure resources and information technology advantages to carry out cyber surveillance on a large scale, steal large amounts of political, economic and military secrets as well as enterprises’ and individuals’ sensitive data, some also control major networks and information systems in other countries from a long distance. Just think, in a period of danger, if a country’s crucial infrastructure, which involves the national economy and the people’s livelihood, is attacked and paralysed, and control even over military command and control systems is taken over my others, that will bring “the nation in peril”.
Q: Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that cybersecurity and informatization are two wings of one body, two wheels of one cart. How do you see the relationship between cybersecurity and informatization?
WXJ: For a long time, there have been some disputes concerning the relationship between cybersecurity and informatization. We certainly see that some applications have come up, and security problems followed in their wake; some new technologies emerged, and traditional technological cybersecurity defences and management regulations lost their use. Comrade Xi Jinping has made an extremely profound elucidation of this, which swept away the confused understandings that existed in the past. Without cybersecurity, the quicker informatization develops, the larger the harms it creates may become. And without the development of informatization, economic and social development would lag behind, cybersecurity would have no guarantees, and the security that there is might be lost. The demand of “protecting development with security and stimulating security with development” fully reflects Marxist dialectics and reflects the scientific development view.
Cybersecurity is a new problem that emerged through the progress of informatization, it can only be resolved through the process of development with the method of development. We cannot simply guarantee freedom by not going online, not sharing and not interacting, or one-sidedly stressing the construction of an autarchic network. The result of acting in this manner can only be unnecessary duplicate construction, a large amount of online resources would not be fully used, increasing the cost of informatization and reducing its benefit, and so development opportunities would be lost. This sort of “lazy politics” thinking must be gotten rid of. We must strive to realize technological innovation, structural and mechanism innovation, we must incessantly shape new ways of thinking, new ideas, new measures and new skills to maintain cybersecurity.
Q: The Centre has made a general composition of cybersecurity and informatization work, in which areas is it necessary to further make breakthroughs going forward?
WXJ: The Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization convened for the first time on 27 February, it deliberated and passed the 2014 Focus Work Points for the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, and arranged cybersecurity and informatization work for the present and future periods. The top priority is urgently implementing this, and ensuring that all work points are done meticulously, substantially and satisfactorily. We must strengthen top-level design and strategic planning, accelerate the formulation of cybersecurity and informatization development plans, macro-level planning and major policies; innovate and improve online propaganda, carry forward the main melody, arouse positive energy, and comprehensively govern the online ecology; accelerate the formulation of urgently needed laws, regulations and technical standards for cybersecurity and informatization, strengthen indigenous innovation, and build cybersecurity guarantee systems; forcefully upgrade informatization levels in all areas of the national economy and social development, stimulate the development of information industries, promote the digitized development of culture, publishing, radio, film and television, and push military-civilian integration forward; accelerate talent team construction, upgrade the entire society’s consciousness about cybersecurity, and persist in accelerating talent training across areas, categories and levels.